California is laying the groundwork to scale up nature-based climate solutions using strategies like urban tree planting and regenerative agriculture. To see the benefits of these solutions, we must invest in the on-the-ground partnerships that are necessary for the widespread adoption of climate-friendly practices on our lands. New Regional Carbon Farming Hubs are uniquely positioned to help farmers and ranchers implement strategies, like cover cropping and compost application, on their land. These hubs are led by Resource Conservation Districts, local entities that can tap into the existing networks and local expertise they’ve been building for more than 80 years. Together, they can work with landowners to pull carbon out of the atmosphere while improving soil health, water efficiency, and biodiversity.
In this webinar, we heard from experts about why these strategic partnerships are necessary and what is needed to increase their capacity and reach to secure a climate-safe future.
Jonathan is the Lead Soil Scientist at the Carbon Cycle Institute in California where his work focuses on advancing agricultural climate solutions through applied research, policy, and education. He works to integrate agricultural climate solutions into local, regional and statewide climate strategies, build technical assistance capacity and expertise, and equitably scale agricultural climate solutions across California. Jonathan has over a decade of experience in crop and livestock management, land conservation, soil health research, and environmental education.
Emilie Winfield is the Regional Coordinator for the North Coast Soil Hub, where she works to increase understanding of how to manage agro-ecosystems for soil health and advance the adoption of climate-friendly practices. At the Soil Hub, Emilie engages a variety of stakeholders including regional resource conservation districts, agricultural producers, researchers, and other local partners to provide educational opportunities for learning about soil health and climate-friendly agricultural strategies, secure resources to support planning and implementation, and overcome barriers to adoption. Emilie has a B.S. in Plant Sciences from UC Santa Cruz and an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Management from UC Davis. Prior to joining the North Coast Soil Hub, Emilie managed diversified vegetable farms, provided training on sustainable agriculture, and participated in research on plant-microbe interactions and the impacts of soil amendments on working lands.
Ellee co-founded Solidarity Farm, a small, diversified fruit and vegetable operation in 2012 and began exploring carbon sink farming methods after a historic heat event in 2015 decimated their crops. In 2019, she helped co-host a Carbon Sink Convergence that inspired the establishment of Foodshed San Diego, a farmer-owned cooperative dedicated to ecological, climate-smart farming and lifting up small farm businesses to nourish San Diego’s historically marginalized communities. She is now Foodshed’s Operations Coordinator and works for the County of San Diego CalFresh Healthy Living Team as a Small Farm Aggregation Specialist. Ellee has a MA in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon.
State Conservationist (State Director), Senior Executive Service at USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Carlos Suarez has worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service for more than 30 years. He began his career with NRCS in the summer of 1990 as a student trainee in Puerto Rico. Mr. Suarez has extensive experience serving in a number of technical and leadership positions, domestically and internationally, including serving as State Conservationist in California and in Florida, Deputy State Conservationist in Nebraska and California, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations in Wisconsin, Farm Bill Program Manager in Indiana, and Soil Conservationist and District Conservationist in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Mr. Suarez also temporarily held two US Department of Agriculture positions: Acting Director for the Pacific Islands Area and the Acting Director for the Stewardship and Community Development Division at USDA Headquarters.
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